If you believe that your teen is too young to discuss teen drinking, that’s incorrect. The earlier you start these conversations, the better. During your child’s early adolescent years is when they might begin experimenting with or feeling the pressure to consume alcohol. Parents and other positive influences on teens can help encourage them to avoid using alcohol. During these conversations, discuss how they can do that, the risks of using alcohol, and why they must make the right decisions. If your teen struggles with alcohol addiction, seek treatment at our North Carolina adolescent treatment center.
Understanding the Reasons Behind Teen Drinking
Teen drinking can happen for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that individuals at this age are more vulnerable to the use of alcohol. For example, teens might want to feel more independent, so they start taking risks and seeking new situations that excite them. These situations might involve using alcohol.
There are also some situations where teens are feeling more self-conscious than usual. As a result of these feelings, they might turn to the media or friends for ways to feel like they’re measuring up. Teens who believe they don’t fit in might experiment with alcohol to try to please their friends.
If teens are experiencing stressful circumstances, they might turn to alcohol as a way of coping with those situations. These situations might include transitioning from middle school to high school, or starting a new job when they become old enough to work.
Your teen may also be struggling with mental health issues and struggling to cope. If this is the case, it is critical for them to seek treatment at a dual diagnosis treatment program.
Learning How to Talk About Teen Drinking
Talking about teen drinking doesn’t come easily for everyone. It might be a sensitive subject due to other family members struggling with alcohol abuse. However, if you believe teen drinking might become a problem, then now is the time to have these conversations. Here are some tips for talking about teen drinking:
- Open the discussion with questions: Don’t probe your teen with questions about if they drink. Instead, ask them how they feel about alcohol and, if they express interest in trying it, ask them why they want to do that
- Show them the truth: Many myths about alcohol can confuse teens. For example, they might think drinking makes them more popular. Explain to them that, even though some look happy when drinking, problematic side effects often include anger and depression
- Explain why they should not drink: When talking about why teen drinking isn’t a good idea, appeal to your teen’s self-respect. If your family has a history of alcohol abuse, be honest with those details
- Give them tools for coping with peer pressure: Every teen is going to experience peer pressure to some degree. It’s up to you to give them to tools they need to deal with that. Talk to them about a variety of ways for saying, “no”
- Be ready for many questions: During this conversation, your teen might ask if you experimented with teen drinking. If that’s part of your history, explain a painful memory associated with that behavior
Help With Understanding the Consequences of Teen Drinking
When talking to your teen, help them understand the consequences of teen drinking. Understanding these consequences might help them abstain from using alcohol. Here are some examples:
- Alcoholism: When individuals start drinking in their teens, that could lead to developing alcoholism. Teens who binge drink are at a higher risk for developing an addiction. This leads to the need for alcohol addiction treatment
- Alcohol-related deaths: The leading cause of teen deaths are alcohol-related traffic accidents.
- School issues: Teens who drink are more likely to have conduct and academic problems compared to those who don’t drink.
- Sexual activities: Those who drink during their teen years are more likely to become sexually active at an earlier age compared to individuals who don’t.
- Violent crime: When teens drink, they’re more likely to become a victim of a violent crime, including assault or robbery.
Are you worried that your children might be experimenting with teen drinking? Did you feel like it’s too soon to start talking to your teen about alcohol? These questions and concerns are common among many parents. No one should have to navigate these situations without help. Contact us at 866.300.5275 to receive the support you need and learn how we can help.